SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Google used its annual conference for software developers to unveil several new products, services and features. They include enhancements for online games, maps, search, music and photos and are meant to help the company cement its role in people’s technological lives.
Here’s a look at some of the announcements made at Wednesday’s keynote at Google I/O at San Francisco’s Moscone Center:
All Access will blend songs you have already uploaded to your online libraries with millions of other tracks for a $10 monthly fee. This puts Google in competition with paid subscription plans such as Spotify and Rhapsody and free music services such as Pandora.
All Access became available in the U.S. on Wednesday and comes with a 30-day free trial. If you start the trial by June 30, the monthly fee drops to $8. That’s $2 cheaper than leading competing plans. It is expected to roll out soon in 12 other countries where Google currently sells music – 10 European countries such as the U.K., France and Germany, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
The new service will allow you to search for songs, albums or artists directly, or peruse 22 different genres. Google curators will also offer recommendations based on your listening behavior and your existing library of songs. You can listen to any available song right away, or switch to a “radio” format that creates a playlist of songs that you might like. Radio playlists can be adjusted on the fly by deleting or re-ordering upcoming songs. Google describes all of this as “radio without rules.”
By combining an unlimited-access subscription plan with music sold through Google’s online Play store, All Access covers any gaps. Some artists, including Taylor Swift, keep recent releases away from streaming services for several months in order to boost download sales. All three major recording labels – Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group Corp. – are participating in All Access.